My parents broke it gently to me that Santa was not real. I replied that I knew that, but had not said anything in case I then got no presents.
With our children we sort of moved gradually from Santa bringing presents to us buying the presents for Santa to bring and they sussed out for themselves that Santa glimpsed filling stockings in the middle of the night looked a lot like Daddy.
We never put their "real" presents at the foot of their beds, but under the Christmas tree. The stockings were on the beds, with an orange, an apple, a few sweets, and some small inexpensive things to keep them occupied for a while. No big presents were opened until after breakfast had been cleared away - this meant that everyone was keen to help tidy up.
By the time everything had been opened, inspected and played with for a while, it was time to get dressed and fit to go to paternal grandparents for lunch. After that was over, parcels from them to all of us and from us to them were exchanged, along with the ones exchanged with aunt and uncle and cousin. The ones from maternal grandparents were kept until we were back home again.
That way the excitement was spread over the day - and we could watch the unwrapping with pencil and paper in hand and know who to thank for what.